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Brazil: Hundreds of Thousands of Teachers, Students Strike in Protest Against Bolsonaro's Policies

On May 15, Brazilian university professors, researchers and students were joined by the general population to reject the latest blow to social gains achieved during the Workers' Party governments by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Two weeks ago Brazil's Education Minister Abraham Weintraub announced a 30 percent cut to the federal education budget, stressing that the first institutions affected by the measure are those that provoke public "mayhem" like the University of Brasilia (UNB), the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), and the Fluminense Federal University (UFF).

The next day, the Higher Education Secretary, Arnaldo Barbosa, said that the budget cut would be applied equally among all universities. The Bolsonaro administration also indicated it would cut some 3,400 scholarships for scientific research and graduate students.

In the last two weeks, trade union centers, social movements and progressive political parties announced their support for universities and rejected the social security reform bill, a proposal which aims to privatize the pension system.

Today, former capitan Bolsonaro faces the first nationwide, multi-class strike in Brazil in years.

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Rio de Janeiro students defend public education. The sign reads "Knowledge cannot be cut."
Rio de Janeiro students defend public education. The sign reads "Knowledge cannot be cut." Photo:Brasil de Fato
Brazilian college students hold a banner reading "Education and Democracy, Forever." Students and teachers have held several major protests since the education budget cuts were announced April 30.
Brazilian college students hold a banner reading "Education and Democracy, Forever." Students and teachers have held several major protests since the education budget cuts were announced April 30. Photo:Brasil de Fato
Women hold banners which read: "For a quality education" and "Against racial prejudices".
Women hold banners which read: "For a quality education" and "Against racial prejudices". Photo:Brasil de Fato
A young woman holds a banner reading "More books, fewer guns" in a demonstration at the Santa Catarina Federal Institute. The quote was taken from an interview by ex President  Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva released last week.
A young woman holds a banner reading "More books, fewer guns" in a demonstration at the Santa Catarina Federal Institute. The quote was taken from an interview by ex President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva released last week. Photo:Brasil de Fato
Students display banners reading "Free Lula" outside the Ministry Square in Brazil
Students display banners reading "Free Lula" outside the Ministry Square in Brazil's capital, Brasilia. Photo:Brasil de Fato
Prudent city in the state of Sao Paulo, marchers hold signs that read, "Everyone supports education."
Prudent city in the state of Sao Paulo, marchers hold signs that read, "Everyone supports education." Photo:Brasil de Fato
A woman holds a banner that reads, "Come to the street" in Arapiraca city, State of Alagoas.
A woman holds a banner that reads, "Come to the street" in Arapiraca city, State of Alagoas. Photo:Brasil de Fato
People participate in the "Tsunami of Education" march to protest federal budget cuts in Patos, state of Paraiba.
People participate in the "Tsunami of Education" march to protest federal budget cuts in Patos, state of Paraiba. Photo:Brasil de Fato
A woman holds a banner with the words, "No to the Macho Reform, Women in struggle," in Fortaleza, state of Ceara.
A woman holds a banner with the words, "No to the Macho Reform, Women in struggle," in Fortaleza, state of Ceara. Photo:Brasil de Fato
A Federal University of Bahia theater student holds a book entitled "The Elite Set Back" in Salvador, state of Bahia.
A Federal University of Bahia theater student holds a book entitled "The Elite Set Back" in Salvador, state of Bahia. Photo:Brasil de Fato
Published 15 May 2019
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